How to Get Rid of Black Mold the Easy and Cheap Way

What is black mold?

Black mold (stachybotrys chartarum) is a greenish-black mold that releases reproductive seeds, or spores, when disturbed. The mold itself is not toxic, but the mycotoxins is produces are poisonous. These mycotoxins attach to the mold spores and migrate to other surfaces where they can be inhaled by humans and animals.

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If ingested, these spores can cause severe health issues, including chronic fatigue, excessive coughing, irritation of the nose, eyes and throat, nausea, vomiting, and even bleeding in the lungs. If you have one or more of these symptoms, you could be experiencing black mold poisoning. To prevent side effects from getting worse, seek medical treatment immediately and create a plan to get rid of the toxic black mold in your home.

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Black Mold Health Effects

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Stachybotrys is responsible for mold allergies and over 100 cases of lung disorders. To avoid the risk of getting mold allergies, it is extremely important to remove all mold, regardless of what type you find. Your family’s health depends on it.

People who have allergies, respiratory disease, or any type of immune-suppressing disease should be especially wary.

Techniques for Cleaning Surface Mold

Surface molds grow in just about any damp location, such as the grout lines of a ceramic tiled shower. They’re easy to scrub away with a mold cleaner mixture of 1/2 cup bleach, one quart of water and a little detergent. In mold remediation, the bleach in the cleaning mixture kills the mold. The detergent helps lift it off the surface so you can rinse it away and it won’t return as fast.

  • Even for simple cleaning, protect yourself from contact with mold and the bleach solution by wearing a long-sleeve shirt and long pants as well as plastic or rubber gloves and goggles.
  • If the mold doesn’t disappear after light scrubbing, reapply the cleaning mix and let it sit for a minute or two. Then lightly scrub again for mold remediation.
  • Seal the clean surfaces when they’re thoroughly dry to slow future moisture penetration. Apply a grout sealer (available at tile shops and home centers) to tile joints to help your how to remove mold project

Note: Do not mix ammonia or any detergent containing ammonia with bleach. The combination forms a poisonous gas.

Cleaning Black Mold Yourself

Instead of calling in the experts and paying a hefty amount to have the mold removed, there are ways you can handle the problem yourself. Before you begin, here are some ideas for how to do it and what you'll need.

Open Up Moldy Walls

  • Pry off baseboards and trim from contaminated areas with a pry bar and block of wood.
  • Probe heavily stained or moisture-swollen walls using a screwdriver to discover and open up moisture damage and hidden mold in the insulation and wall framing.

2. Assess the size of the problem

The answer removing black mold may be to do it yourself. ‘Small amounts of mold can be removed by an individual in the home, like in the shower,‘ advises Michael Rubino, president of All American Restoration (opens in new tab), and author of The Mold Medic.

However, getting rid of black mold might require calling in a professional. The tricky part about mold is that it can grow deep into substances,’ Michael explains. ‘For instance, if there’s mold on a wall, it could be growing deep into that wall and the foundation of the home. Once that mold starts growing, it’s also releasing spores into the air, increasing the odds of another moldy location starting somewhere else in the home. 

‘It’s best to have a mold inspector come in to assess the situation first to help determine how bad the mold problem is. Then you can determine if it’s a project you can tackle on your own.’

Natural remedies: how to get rid of black mold

If you tend to opt for more natural household solutions that are kid- and pet-friendly, use one of these simple remedies:

  • Tea tree oil—This natural fungicide is less corrosive than bleach or ammonia and effectively gets rid of mold and mildew in your home. Mix one teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water in a spray bottle, spray the solution on affected areas, and let it sit for several minutes. Wipe the toxic black mold away with a disposable towel.
  • Baking soda—For lighter mold situations, baking soda is a great removal option. Create a 50/50 mix of baking soda and water to form a paste, apply it to the affected area, and let it dry. Scrub the area with a sponge or cleaning brush and wipe away any excess with a paper towel.
  • Vinegar—White-distilled vinegar is a cheap and easy solution to get rid of mold—and it’s much safer than bleach or ammonia. Pour vinegar onto a rag and wipe the mold-covered area until the mold has been completely removed.
  • Grapefruit seed extract—Similar to tea tree oil, this is a natural and non-toxic way to disinfect, deodorize, and kill mold. Put 10 drops of grapefruit seed extract in a cup of water and spray the moldy area. Allow the solution to soak for 10 minutes and then wipe off any excess debris with an old towel.

Vinegar

White distilled vinegar is an affordable, natural solution to removing black mold. Its antibacterial acidic characteristics are exactly what you need to get the job done.

Pour the undiluted vinegar into a spray bottle to apply to the area, or just go for it and pour that vinegar right onto the mold stains. Use a disposable towel and wipe away the mold from the area. If that doesn’t work, grab an old toothbrush and go to town on the problem zone. Allow time for this to dry, and then use a damp towel to wipe the area clean one more time.

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The path of resistance

Initially, Mike’s landlord tried to fix the problem himself, bleaching the moldy walls. “We call that ‘spray ‘n' pray’,” said Scott Armour of the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification, a global industry body for remediators. They, along with the EPA, advise against bleach for a variety of reasons, namely that fumes can be dangerous and it’s usually ineffective.

How to Kill Black Mold

We want to help you to learn how to kill the problem, because this is an issue that is best handled when addressed quickly!

Any growths in your home should be cause for worry, but there are so many natural ways to approach the problem and have it handled very quickly. 

These non-toxic methods have been proven to work in the past and may be just the thing you need to rid your home of mold for good – and you probably already have them in the house!

1) Baking Soda

Baking soda tends to be one of those cure-all substances that most of us already have on hand. By adding a little bit of baking soda to either water or vinegar, you can quickly spot treat the affected area!

Baking soda and water is one of the most common at-home solutions to removing black mold, and we highly recommend that you give it a go.

2) Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another non-toxic thing to have on hand and can help you to get rid of black mold once and for all.

By putting a 3% mixture into a spray bottle, you can quickly cover the moldy area. Make sure that your spray bottle is thoroughly cleaned and dried before you put the hydrogen peroxide inside!

3) Tea Tree Oil

Essential oils are a natural remedy for a lot of issues including black mold growth! To use this method, take your tea tree oil and dilute it with some water.

Again, using a spray bottle for this method is probably going to be the easiest by allowing you to fully cover the entire area. 

The natural oil will quickly get to work in killing off those mold spores and can stunt any future mold growth as well!

4) Grapefruit Seed Extract

Similar to tea tree oil, grapefruit seed extract is non-toxic and very effective in black mold removal.

Mold and mildew stand no chance when up against this highly acidic substance. To prevent any damage to your affected surfaces, go ahead and dilute this extract in some water and put it in a spray bottle for the easiest application.

5) Lemons

Lemon juice is highly acidic and is one the best ways to help in black mold removal. It does not do well when exposed to any level of acidity, and lemon juice is definitely going to help to remove mold in your home.

You can purchase lemon juice in a bottle or squeeze your own – just make sure to cover all moldy places in this juice for it to work its magic. 

6) White Vinegar

White vinegar alone can quickly kill fungal growths. This natural cleaner is used around the house for many reasons and can stop black mold from spreading. 

As with all the other substances, make sure you cover the entire area so that the vinegar can kill off the harmful black mold spores. 

7) Borax

Commonly known as another cure-all, Borax can indeed help with any of your black mold issues. 

Just by mixing this with water, you will soon have a mold-killing concoction! For this substance, you can use an old rag to scrub the area. By doing this, you will be leaving traces of Borax to continue killing off any black mold spores. 

8) Rubbing (or Drinking) Alcohol 

Whether you have rubbing alcohol or a highly alcoholic beverage on hand, you are in luck.

Both of these substances can sterilize the moldy area and will help to stop growth completely! For this liquid, you are going to need the full strength so don’t bother adding any water before using it. 

About this article

Co-authored by: NW Maids House Cleaning Service This article was co-authored by NW Maids. NW Maids is a cleaning service in Seattle, Washington. NW Maids has been active since 2014 and has an emphasis on upfront pricing, easy online booking, and thorough cleaning services. This article has been viewed 1,098,683 times. 1 votes – 100% Co-authors: 24 Updated: March 25, 2022 Views: 1,098,683

Article SummaryX

To clean black mold, try applying cleaning detergents such as borax, bleach, and ammonia to the affected area. If you prefer natural solutions, give vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or baking soda a try. Be sure to seal off the room before you get started and always wear a dust mask, eye protection, and rubber gloves when working around mold. If your black mold problem is extensive, consider calling a professional mold remover for assistance! For more tips on chemical and natural cleaning solutions, read on!

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Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 1,098,683 times.

What are the health risks of black mold?

Naturally occurring molds are all around us, both indoors and out. But it’s when mold lands on something wet, say a damp bathroom wall, and starts to colonize that it becomes a problem. That’s when mold spores produce allergens and irritants that can trigger asthma attacks and allergic symptoms, including sneezing, skin rashes and runny noses, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In the case of Stachybotrys chartarum, the spores can also produce poisonous chemicals called mycotoxins. But the same is true for many molds, given the right conditions. That’s why the Center for Disease Control and Prevention says: “It is not necessary to determine what type of mold you may have growing in your home. All molds should be treated the same with respect to potential health risks and removal.”

How to get rid of mold fast

First, you’ll want to determine the size of the outbreak. This will tell you if you can clean the mold yourself, or if it’s reached a point where you need to bring in the pros. If the outbreak is less than 10 square feet, the EPA says it’s safe to handle the cleanup yourself (FEMA sets the limit at 25 square feet, so there’s some wiggle room). Professional mold remediation is expensive, costing around $2,000 on average. That’s another reason why it pays to jump on mold outbreaks before they have a chance to spread.

Assuming the mold cleanup situation is still DIY, start by gathering your tools and materials, then follow these step-by-step instructions for mold removal.

Tools

  • Face mask
  • Eye protection
  • Rubber gloves
  • Vacuum
  • Bucket
  • Spray bottle
  • Sponge
  • Scrub brush
  • Cloths/rags

Materials

  • Dish soap
  • Specialized mold and mildew cleaner
  • Chlorine bleach (if necessary)

FAQs About Black Mold Removal

That’s a lot of information on how to get rid of black mold, but there could still be some deep-rooted questions. The following includes some of the most frequently asked questions on the topic.

Q: What kills black mold instantly?

There aren’t any household products that kill black mold instantly, but there are several that do an excellent job with a bit of brushing and wiping. However, most mold remediation requires several applications.

Q: Is it safe to live in a house with black mold?

Black mold is not safe; however, the size of the infestation determines whether or not the house is habitable. Professional mold remediation services are suggested for infestations over 10 square feet in size.

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Q: What’s the difference between mold and mildew?

Essentially, mildew grows on top of flat surfaces, whereas mold burrows itself into the pores of a surface. Mildew is often easier to remove and less dangerous than mold.

Q: How do you get rid of black mold on wood?

The steps above are applicable for wood, but a quick run-down includes:

  • Donning protective gear and cordoning off the area
  • Spraying mold-remediation solution on the mold
  • Scrubbing with a bristle brush
  • Wiping up the runoff

It may take several applications to remove mold on wood, as it’s very porous and the mold will likely burrow deeply inside.

Q: How do you know if mold is making you sick?

If you’re feeling ill, an at-home mold test can help determine the cause. Look for these symptoms, among others:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms
Some jobs are better left to the prosGet free, no-commitment estimates from mold removal experts near you. Find local pros ++

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